📚World War Two #HistoricalFiction. Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Night Angels by @WeinaRandel #WW2

Night AngelsNight Angels by Weina Dai Randel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Night Angels is a World War Two historical fiction tale based on the real life of Dr. Ho, Consul General of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna.

The book begins in 1938; much of Dr. Ho’s work involves developing good international relations, as the Chinese are currently at war with Japan. The Chinese diplomats are keen to negotiate promises of weaponry from the Germans, but they are led on a long political dance.

Meanwhile Dr. Ho witnesses the horrors as Vienna’s Jewish community is terrorised; money and businesses stolen and the people forced to leave or are taken prisoner. Dr. Ho’s wife Grace was even arrested for sitting on a park bench. As tensions rise, Ho might not be able to stop the madness, but he can try to save lives; he begins issuing travel visas to China.

I had not heard of this aspect of the war and the complexities around travel visas was interesting to read about. My historical knowledge was also lacking about the war between China and Japan, I hadn’t realised that they were already fighting before Pearl Harbor. I’m glad that I read this and got a glimpse into the life of a humble diplomat who made a difference to thousands of lives.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

 

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Book description

From the author of The Last Rose of Shanghai comes a profoundly moving novel based on the true story of a diplomat and his wife who risked their lives to help Viennese Jews escape the Nazis.

1938. Dr. Ho Fengshan, consul general of China, is posted in Vienna with his American wife, Grace. Shy and ill at ease with the societal obligations of diplomats’ wives, Grace is an outsider in a city beginning to feel the sweep of the Nazi dragnet. When Grace forms a friendship with her Jewish tutor, Lola Schnitzler, Dr. Ho requests that Grace keep her distance. His instructions are to maintain amicable relations with the Third Reich, and he and Grace are already under their vigilant eye.

But when Lola’s family is subjugated to a brutal pogrom, Dr. Ho decides to issue them visas to Shanghai. As violence against the Jews escalates after Kristallnacht, and threats mount, Dr. Ho must issue thousands more to help Jews escape Vienna before World War II explodes.

Based on a remarkable true story, Night Angels explores the risks brave souls took and the love and friendship they built and lost while fighting against incalculable evil.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS (Due for publication on Feb 1st)

‘Based on the real story of a #WW2 female sniper.’ Rosie’s #Bookreview Of The Diamond Eye by @KateQuinnAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog @HarperCollinsUK

The Diamond EyeThe Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

5 stars

The Diamond Eye is a World War Two tale, based on the real story of a female sniper in the Russian army.

Teenage bride then single mother and history student, Mila signed up to fight for her family’s future as Germany invaded Russia’s borders.

This is a the story of just one of the many female heroines of war. Mila fought on the Eastern Front and her official sniper kill number was 309. This may have been higher; often kills weren’t verified in the chaos of war. The number could also have been lower as much of the history about Mila’s life came from a memoir written for propaganda purposes.  Part of that propaganda involved sending Mila along with other Russian students to America in 1942; their role was to help persuade the American President to commit to joining the war by providing a second front in Europe to divert Hitler’s attentions.

There’s an interesting format to the book; chapters pass back and forth between the fight in Russia and the student delegation in America. Dotted in between are notes from the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who is said to have befriended Mila during her visit; they remained friends after the war. Often Mila’s chapters begin with an official line from her memoir and then her ‘real’ propaganda-free thoughts and memories of what happened.

I liked it. A lot. Quinn has an ability to make her characters come alive and the details of the settings and atmosphere took me to the heart of the battlefields and beyond as we followed Mila’s life. I always enjoy the extra notes from the author, found at the back of the book, where you get to hear what inspired the story, what they had to work with and how they gave it a literary spin.

Having already enjoyed reading previous war themed books written by Quinn, I was delighted to see a couple of connections, in this book, to the magnificent, Nina from The Huntress. I can happily recommend this to fans of war fiction.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

 

Desc 1

In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son–but Hitler’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper–a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.

Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC–until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.

Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

A Harrowing Tale Set in The Netherlands During #WW2. Sherry reviews Over The Hedge By Paulette Mahurin for #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Over The Hedge by Paulette Mahurin

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This one was hard to read for a number of reasons. The main one, of course, was the brutality of the subject matter. This book was harrowing and, often times, turned the reader’s stomach as to the behavior of human beings who took joy and pleasure in harming other humans. The Nazi regime created many monsters. The one question that will forever haunt me on the atrocities of the acts on Jewish people is, did the regime create these monsters or were so many already lurking in society and they were freed and allowed to run rampant based on there being no consequences (at least during those years when the evil was in power)?

The heroes and heroine of this true to life story were amazing and awe-inspiring. That two of them were Jewish themselves and risked it all to save children is admirable. They didn’t hide away, though who could have blamed them if they had? The fact they survived and made a difference as long as they did was remarkable. Henriette Pimental and Walter Suskind were truly angels on earth for the children they helped to escape and give a chance to live. Johan van Hulst, the professor who started it all, was also a brave man to not sit back and allow innocent lives to be destroyed. It’s terrible that they weren’t able to save more, but those they did save were reward enough. Every life that went on was a victory.

This was a tale that everyone needs to read even though the subject matter is tough.

The two faults I found with the book was it was hard to tell if it was a fictionalized version of facts or if it was a true and accurate telling of the actual events. The tale moved from almost reading like a text book to dialogue and dramatization. In places it was dry and then it would segue to an almost novel-like approach. The cover states it’s a novel, but it was hard to tell by the actual text. The other fault was the paragraph formatting. It may have just been in the ARC copy I have, but the formatting was disjointed throughout. Hanging sentences that joined up after an inserted return all through the copy made it hard to read properly.

I can’t say I enjoyed the book, but it definitely made an impression. The author did a good job in showing the reader just how awful and harrowing the residents of the Netherlands had it in WWII. What a terrible time and place for so many to have to endure. I’m sure it was hard for the author to write as it was definitely hard to read.

Desc 1

During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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